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By: Brandon Santa Maria
The last quote that I found very interesting in this book is at the very end in the epilogue said by An-Yi’s mother when Ji-Li asked if she hated Mao. She said “I didn’t hate him. I believed that the cultural revolution was necessary to prevent revisionism and capitalism from taking over China. I knew that I was wronged, but mistakes happen under any system. If the country was better for the movement that persecuted me, I was still in favor of it. It was only after Mao’s death that I knew I was deceived.”
There are multiple themes in this entire book. Some of the most important themes are how fast a culture could change just because of one person. Another theme is personal heroism because even though odds were stacked against Ji-Li, she still believed that everything was going to be ok and she stood up for herself and her family which made her a true hero. One more theme is that you have to follow your heart. In the book Ji-Li chooses to help her family and stay with them instead of following Mao which is what was popular at the time. There were also other parts where she chose a right decision even though she got hurt.
More word that I came across that I didn’t understand were the words four olds and exploitation. The words four olds mean something that is out of date and has been used a lot in the past. All four olds were banned once the revolution started. The word exploitation means to use another person to do labor for you and you still get all of the money. It is like having a slave. Ji-Li was once one of the people who had to do labor in a rice field to remold herself.
Irony is when something that wasn’t suppose to happen happens. For example in this book it is ironic that once Mao died everyone knew that what he did was wrong and that he sort of brainwashed all of them into thinking that he was a good guy instead of a bad guy, when in reality he was a terrible person. To me this was very ironic and the most ironic thing in the whole story.
Another quote that is mentioned in this book is at the very beginning. It is the quote that Chairman Mao says most of the time the quote is “study hard and advance everyday”. Chairman Mao uses this quote often so many people hang up posters with a giant picture of Mao that says his quote. Ji-Li use to follow this quote everyday until the revolution got serious and it affected her life, she then didn’t follow Mao but followed her family instead.
There are many supporting characters in this book. A supporting character is someone who isn’t the main character but is still there in the story to help the main character or to help the story. Some supporting characters in this story are An-Yi, Ji-Li’s grandma, Ji-Li’s mom and dad, all of Ji-Li’s siblings, Song Po-Po, Ji-Li’s uncles and aunts, An-Yi’s mother, Chang Hong, Bai Shan, and all of Ji-Li’s teachers.
A simile is a sentence that compares two things using the words like or as. In this book there are some similes. Some examples are “standing in the doorway, he looked like a monster.” and “ she told me Xinjiang was like a flower garden”. Both of these similes are used by Ji-Li when she is talking to herself or to her friend An-Yi.
The whole main conflict of this entire book is that the Cultural Revolution has started because of Chairman Mao. Once this revolution started everything that was old or used before in the past was considered four olds and was destroyed. Also families that had a bad class status was also shunned. Ji-Li was shunned because her family use to own land and was rich. She still was rich and everyone mainly hated that about her. She also got punished for what her parents and grandparents did which wasn’t fair at all.
There is another character in this book that changes throughout the story line. This character is named An-Yi. An-Yi was Ji-Li’s best friend and they stayed together throughout the whole story. In the beginning, An-Yi was just like Ji-Li and she loved her life and thought it was perfect. Then once her mother was hurt because of the revolution she moved away and never really talked to Ji-Li until the end of the story. So mainly An-Yi’s background went from happy to sad then back to happy.
Some more words that I didn’t know in this book are words like study session and rebel. Study sessions are meetings held in China that try to improve or change someone's behavior. Rebel means to go against or fight with what is being said or done. Out of these two words the one most easiest to understand is rebel since study session in America means a certain period of time to work.
There are lots of quotes that are in this book but the ones I understood the most are “Heaven and earth are great, but greater still is the kindness of the Communist Party” and “father and mother are dear, but dearer still is Chairman Mao”. The first quote means that Ji-Li was very interested in the communist party and wanted to be in it at the time. The second quote means that Ji-Li actually cared more for Chairman Mao more than her parents and she didn’t even meet Mao.
The changes that happen to Ji-Li are very big. In the beginning of the story Ji-Li thinks that everything in her life is perfect and she is almost perfect herself. Then, once the revolution starts her background changes to where she is very timid and doesn’t even want to live with her family any more. Once the revolution is to much for her to handle, Ji-Li soon accepts the fact that she is not well liked and now loves her family for who they are and wants to leave them no more.
The whole plan of the plot is mostly simple. The plot is just about a girl who is growing up in a terrible time and needs to live through the pain. There are times where things go the way Ji-Li wants them to go and there are times where everything is just falling apart. The plot just revolves around what is happening in Ji-Li’s life and since it’s life not everything goes together well.
The setting of this book is Shanghai, China in the years 1966-1976. During this time was when Chairman Mao ruled and everyone was listening to him. This was when life was hard for Ji-Li but once Mao died in 1976 the whole revolution crumbled and Ji-Li could live in peace again.
There was lots of symbols that were mentioned or used in this story the two that were most important was a mop and Chairman Mao. The mop was used after there was a search in Ji-Li’s house and it was used to see if the house was safe to enter. Chairman Mao was the symbol of the whole revolution since he was the one that was running it. He was the one that banned four olds and he was the one that said to shun the bad class status families.
Another important item used by Ji-Li was a mop. This was important because it was a signal. If the mop was out on the balcony the house was safe but if it wasn’t there then there was trouble in the house. This was used when Ji-Li took her siblings and her grandma to the park everyday. It was a very important item to that part of the story which was a huge part of the story.
One huge event that impacted the story a lot was when the Red Guards came in to search Ji-Li’s house the second time. The first time the guards only took some items away but this time they found a very important letter that could have saved Ji-Li’s whole family. This was significant because if this event changed then the whole story would have been effected a lot.
A Metaphor is a sentence that compares two things with things that aren’t really there. One example of a metaphor in this book is "We were proud of our precious red scarves, which, like the national flag, were dyed red with the blood of our revolutionary martyrs”. In this sentence the two things are the red scarf and China’s flag, both are said to have been dyed with blood but they really weren’t.
Something that was very important to Ji-Li was her red scarf. This was important to her because she got it when she was very young and it was the emblem for the Young Pioneers. The Young Pioneers were a group of children ages 10-15 who were in the Soviet Union between 1922-1991.
There were lots of words that I didn’t know. Most of them were Chinese words like da-zi-bao meaning a giant poster criticizing some one and Yuan meaning the currency used in China. There were some English words that were new to me like rightist meaning a person who is in a party and disagrees with the most popular party and capitalism meaning a economic system characterized by private ownership of property.
The tone of this book changes very often. The first tone of this book is very joyful because Ji-Li is happy and is playing with her friends. Then the tone turns to a depressing tone because the revolution starts and Ji-Li is made fun of because her grand father was a landlord and her father was said to be a rightist. The rest of the book’s tone was sad until the end where the tone became kind of joyful and still kind of sad.
Jiang Ji-Li is the main character in this book. She is a 12 year old girl that had a wonderful life but once the revolution started, her life went down hill due to the fact that she was born in a family with a bad class status.
Red Scarf Girl A Memoir Of The Cultural Revolution
There were many antagonist in this book who hurt Ji-Li in some way or another. But the main antagonist that was behind everything was Chairman Mao. He was the bad man because he was trying to take control over all of China by brainwashing everyone into thinking he was trying to make good changes. Even though everyone followed him, there was one girl who wanted to follow him but instead went with her family to care and love them. That was the Red Scarf Girl.
Important Item #1
More Vocabulary Words
Important Item #2
Even More Vocabulary Words
One Last Quote
The Bad Guy